Coaching helps you to move your life forward and to find fulfilment by setting goals. It enables you to work out where you are now in your life and where you’d like to be in say, the next week/month/year. Without these goals, you‘re just drifting - 90% of achieving the goal is in the “why” and 10% is in the “how”. You can gain tremendous clarity and focus during coaching sessions by deciding what’s important to you (your values) and what isn’t. You get to align your life with who you are and with what you want to be doing. If you don’t do it for yourself, then who else will do it for you?
A coach’s role is to help you to get from A to B by asking the right questions whilst offering support and motivation. A coach can help you to discover what is stopping you from moving forward and to guide you to go beyond your comfort zone. He/she will also hold you accountable for your chosen course of action. Being answerable to someone else, usually ensures that you do what you say you’re going to do!
One of the most useful exercises you can do for yourself, is to work out what your values are. Values are priorities that tell you how to spend your time. Once you know them, you can rely on them as a shortcut for making important decisions. If you ask yourself “what is truly important to me in life?” you will soon come up with a list of your own. Think about your best friend or someone you admire and jot down why you feel this way about them. Is it because you find them really funny? If so, then humour is important to you and therefore one of your values. Is it because they say it how it is? If so, then honesty would be one of your values. Or think about a time when you were happiest and ask yourself why that was. The list may look something like this but you could easily come up with many more:
- mental stimulation
Once you have your list, start to prioritise them – are your top values being met? We feel unfulfilled when our values are misaligned. If, for example, your top value is mental stimulation and this isn’t being met, then perhaps your goal would be to learn a new language or to have a change in career.
Next, make a list of all the things you could do (not necessarily the things you would do) that would take you one step closer to achieving your goal. At this stage, you are just brainstorming so write down anything that pops into your head, even if it seems unrealistic – you just never know. For example, if you want to learn a new language, you might put: source all colleges nearby, live in another country, buy a new laptop, arrange proper workspace, ask a friend to join me….. From this list, pick the one that you’re most likely to do and put a date on when you can achieve it by. So your end goal would be - start learning Spanish in January 2016 but your first journey goal might be - by 30th September 2015, I will have made a list of all the local colleges. Depending on the size of the goal(s) and your ability to be organised and focused, you could either tackle them one at a time or simultaneously…. and keep going down the list until you are feeling fulfilled!
That’s the basic principal of coaching but obviously, if it was that simple, we would all be living our dreams. What often gets in the way are limiting beliefs and time/money constraints.
To tackle the first - limiting beliefs – these are thoughts that often tell you that you can’t do something. They are formed in childhood and during adolescence. Initially, they come from other people - parents, teachers, friends and family – and they shape everything you do. They prevent you from seeing opportunities and may even have discouraged you from trying at all. Harold Robbins, a personal development expert said “the most important opinion a person will ever hold is the one they hold about themselves”. Many people are unaware that they hold beliefs about themselves. Coaches work with their clients and give them the chance to re-visit the script, to re-write it and to do something different next time.
The second – time/money constraints are more about practicality. If, for example, your goal is to live in a 3 million pound house but you are on a low income, then you have to be realistic and either change the goal or make it more achievable by breaking it down into smaller steps (journey goals). The same with time constraints. If you are full to capacity and feel like you can’t fit anything else into your life then you need to decide how important it is to you to and whether you want to make that time – maybe you need to start saying “no” to things occasionally or look closely at your diary and re-work your week/month/year.
You also need to work out how realistic and important the goal is. As a rule of thumb, on a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being very important/realistic and 1 not being important/realistic at all) if you rate your goal as a 7 or below, then the likelihood is that you don’t want it badly enough or its just too unrealistic, therefore you won’t achieve it. Another reason why a goal might not be achieved, is if its too big. For example, if you say “I am going to lose 5 stone by next summer” its probably going to be more achievable if you break it down into a smaller goal, such as “I am going to lose 8 lbs per month”.
Change can be scary but if you set about change in a measured way, taking small steps and preparing yourself for the next stage, then anything is possible. Success, in whatever way you measure it, is not only for the chosen few or the brave.
“People are more likely to move away from pain than move towards pleasure”
“If you change nothing, then nothing will change”
“Life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change”
Article written by Jane Harrison - London
I am a 49 year old mother of three darlings. I have travelled extensively and lived in several countries so have experienced many different cultures. I am very open-minded and non-judgemental. My style of coaching therefore is very down to earth and with a sense of humour (I am a northerner... [read more]